Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Paris was  virtually, historically, and sadly, sunless last August. Then la lumière  de septembre made Hollywood  stage lighting dim. Everyones's mood changed.  Approaching La Place des Abbesses was frappant. The turquoise of the carousel and the orange brick of the l'eglise Saint Jean spotted  with the shining  near New England yellow leaves scattered on the pavement U-turned me as I started down the Metro steps. 
I returned to my studio, canceled my appointments, got my gear, and set up my easel in front of the Metro sortie.
It was 3 o'clock and the sun was shining directly on the famous  METROPOLITAIN art deco insignia.  
Of course, I was the patsy for all the tourist looking for looking. That was okay.
I loved the group of Japanese back-packers who
pulled out their compases. Luckily they found The North. I  helped a little pointing upwards.
Two oil evangelists artists from the quartier sat on a bench behind me and  scrutinised my method of mixing my acrylics with my new found Golden mediums. "Not bad." they remarked. That was the best complement they had  given me  in ten years, so I was grateful.
Then along came Gigi, who has been around the 'hood for years and  has invested his life savings in amplifiers. He began his interpretation of Jimmy Hendricks. One note  at a time.
I was in agony. I tried and tried  to ignore the pierce, but finally packed up. 
The rains came. Two days later me and the sunlight returned to La Place.
There were  less leaves, and a young accordionist to highlight the atmosphere..
The instument was small and repeated a sound rather than song.
The girl was cute as pie, but off tune if tune was what she had in mind. 
Tourists surrounded her. She overheard my annoyance and approached me.
"You don't like my music?" She asked.
"No" I said, not looking up  from my tableau.
"Your sounds are driving me crazy."
"They're my  compositions."
I felt bad, until she told me that my painting was ugly. Then she left. There is a God, I thought.
Sunday and sunny, I returned to find a great jazz  duet a piano and sax- both very good.
A crowd had surrounded them and there was great applause.
My spot was in the middle of their circle of admirers.
I shrugged meekly and pointed to my pavement paint stains. 
 The musicians were not amused, but when the rains came they took off.
It was not a Gene Kelly revival.
I stayed, because it was a light rain  which really doesn't hurt my paint.
Then the  African  juggler arrived.
He's quite incredible and works  with two goldfish on his head in a bowl of course.
He's asked me if I'd put him in my painting - juggling and looking at my painting at the same time.
"Your coulers are not in my palette."
He laughed. I had the impression that the fish would have preferred to be home. 
They're not social animals.                                                                                                                                                    

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